Application of recent advances in behavioral science is a growing subject in conservation biology. One possible reason for the growth of this approach is that behavioral scientists have become aware of the importance of conservation through their experience during field studies. In addition, there are three more plausible factors that can explain the approach. 1. As conservation biology has developed, both conservationists and behavioral scientists have recognized the importance of behavioral science in many cases of conservation activity. 2. Behavioral ecology has matured and many behavioral ecologists have shifted their interest to the application of their subject. 3. Studies of interactions between individual behavior and population dynamics have become active. Here, I briefly review model studies that have attempted to apply the behavioral sciences to conservation activities. The transfer and captive breeding of endangered populations often requires intensive conservation activity, such as the mating of individuals under conditions that differ from their natural habitats. Such activities require knowledge of the natural behavior and habits of the target species. Predicting the population dynamics of target animals is usually required to evaluate the effects of habitat change resulting from human disturbance on these populations. There are new approaches that incorporate behavioral processes into models of population dynamics. Certain models that include behavioral processes, foraging patch choice under game theory parameters, have succeeded in predicting population parameters such as winter mortality. Mating systems, sexual selection, regulation of the birth sex ratio and helping behavior are all suspected of affecting the effective population size of the target species. Helpers, in addition, can also serve to the function of absorbing the impacts of environmental changes on the population.
The roles of behavioral studies of individuals in the conservation of wildlife, which should be important for the conservation of birds also, are briefly introduced and discussed in the light of two cases studies of the Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus and Sika Deer Cervus nippon in Japan. Some local populations of the bear, one of Japan's largest mammal species, are in danger of extinction. At Karuizawa town, Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, some bears have been visiting garbage disposal sites. Sixteen bears were captured, collared, and tracked using radio-telemetry, from July 1998 to September 2001. Three individuals were killed because they were staying within the town and judged as dangerous individuals. The other 16 bears were translocated. This individuals based management with radio-telemetry data can minimize risks of local population extinction of bears. On Kinkazan Island, Miyagi Prefecture, north-east Japan, most members of a 150-strong Sika Deer population were individually recognizable and have been tracked since 1989. Changes in body conditions, such as morphological and nutritional condition of individuals, and lifetime reproductive success were recorded. The data suggested that variances in lifetime reproductive successes among individuals were high, and the population dynamics can be strongly related to survival and reproductive success of the variation among individuals. This long-term study of the deer showed that reproductive strategies of individuals affected population dynamics. While, this study also showed that the population density, food availability, and stochastic variation in environment might seriously affect on survival and reproductive success of each individual.
Conflict between geese and agriculture has become a widely acknowledged problem in recent decades. Some of the goose species involved in such conflict are coincidentally considered to be of high conservation interest. Behavioral ecology provides a useful framework for uniting agricultural damage management and conservation in a common scientific discipline. This paper summarizes the behavioral studies of habitat use by geese and their application in alleviating goose-agriculture conflicts. Behavioral approaches to habitat use by geese are useful in determining the underlying mechanism whereby damage occurs in a particular space and time, and enables efficient targeting and setting of management measures. Such management measures include the provision of alternative feeding areas combined with scaring devices, and habitat manipulation through the management of farming methods and human disturbance. From a broader perspective, understanding site selection by geese has important implications in guiding redistribution schemes, which is particularly important as the concentration of a population in a limited number of sites can have deleterious effects both on agriculture and on goose conservation. This behavioral knowledge can be integrated into a predictive model of goose distribution and population dynamics. Given evolutionary backgrounds, behavior-based models have the capability of predicting population level consequences of animals in response to habitat change. Such a model may serve as a cornerstone in predictive management and conservation.
Recruitment calls are reported as one mechanism used by some birds and mammals for attracting conspecifics once an individual has found a food source, hence leading to the formation of foraging flocks/groups. Jungle Crows Corvus macrorhynchos sometimes give "kakaka" calls while foraging in flocks. We conducted field observations and playback experiments to examine whether these calls serve as recruitment calls leading to flock formation. Crows gave "kakaka" calls while foraging, and the size of foraging flocks was positively correlated with the number of calls given. Broadcasting "kakaka" calls attracted more Jungle Crows. There was also a positive correlation between pecking rates and the size of foraging flocks. The results indicate that "kakaka" calls are effective recruitment calls and that Jungle Crows forage more efficiently in flocks.
To study the food size preferences of Great Parus major and Varied tits P. varius we provided three sizes of sunflower seeds at a feeder at the forest edge on Mt Aburayama, Fukuoka, southern Japan. The Varied Tits preferred larger seeds than the Great Tits, and selected the size of seed that gave them greater feeding efficiency. The Great Tits carried larger seeds away from the feeder, whereas they ate smaller seeds immediately at the feeder. The Varied Tits always selected larger seeds at the feeder. It is suggested that the larger bill of the Varied Tit may affect this species difference in food size selection. Key words: Foraging, Great Tit, Seed preference, Sympatry, Varied Tit.
Four partly albino fledglings were observed in two Carrion Crow Corvus corone orientalis families in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan, from 30 June to 9 August 2002. They all had white parts on the subterminal regions of the upper and under primary coverts, upper and under greater coverts, primaries, secondaries, and tertiaries. Two fledglings in one family had white in the subterminal regions of the rectrices as well as in the remiges. The latter two birds stayed with their parents for about 20 days longer than their single normally plumaged sibling.
As part of ongoing research into the conservation of wild avian species in Niigata Prefecture, helminthological examination was conducted between March and November 2002 in Niigata Prefectural Bird Protection Center, Japan. A total of 50 individuals of 28 avian species was investigated, with parasitic helminthes collected from 26 individuals. The parasitic helminths belonged to 13 nematode, two acanthocephalan, and three trematode genera, and unidenfied cestodes were also collected. Three genera, Epomidostomum (host: Anser albifrons), Viktorocara (host: Fulmarus glacialis) and Diomedenema (host: Ardea cinerea) were new locality records in Japan.